PDA

View Full Version : How do sell an idea?



hammerklavier
06-08-2009, 10:49 PM
I've recently come up with an idea for a reality TV series that I think really has merit. It would have a smaller audience than most such shows, but there happens to be a cable channel focused on the audience that already does some reality shows.

I'm looking for advice on how to proceed while protecting my idea. And also how much a show idea is worth.

ccv707
06-08-2009, 11:52 PM
Unfortunately, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

And please, if have an ounce of self respect, don't spend your time thinking up reality television. It is everything that's wrong with modern day culture.

Why don't you write a story about the show instead, and use it to show how reality television is destroying our society!

NeuroFizz
06-09-2009, 12:24 AM
I hope you're not considering getting a woman to have nontuplets...

The Lonely One
06-09-2009, 12:29 AM
I've recently come up with an idea for a reality TV series that I think really has merit. It would have a smaller audience than most such shows, but there happens to be a cable channel focused on the audience that already does some reality shows.

I'm looking for advice on how to proceed while protecting my idea. And also how much a show idea is worth.

Not having heard the specific idea I don't want to dismiss it based on the overall trashiness of the genre, but really an idea comes down to a pitch. If you can pitch your idea in a small amount of impactful words, that's probably a good start.

I can't say I've ever pitched to TV executives, so the whole copyright etc. I will not comment on. If you're a big-shot in the industry it probably helps. I'm guessing you're not, and I also am not, so no help there.

Read up on how to pitch, though. It's a valuable skill.

KTC
06-09-2009, 01:16 AM
Unfortunately, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

And please, if have an ounce of self respect, don't spend your time thinking up reality television. It is everything that's wrong with modern day culture.

Why don't you write a story about the show instead, and use it to show how reality television is destroying our society!

This is not helpful to the poster's question. I don't see the need to cast judgments. There is a market and if the poster has a good idea for a show, they should pursue it.


Hammer: Did you try contacting the network???

Cyia
06-09-2009, 01:21 AM
Unfortunately, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

And please, if have an ounce of self respect, don't spend your time thinking up reality television. It is everything that's wrong with modern day culture.

Why don't you write a story about the show instead, and use it to show how reality television is destroying our society!

You can't copyright ideas, but you can pitch a show. It's not the same as contacting a literary agent or publisher to say "I've got a great idea if someone wants to write it". There are a (very) few people whose careers are built on pitching ideas to networks, selling the concept and letting the networks do with it what they will.

TV, however, is harder to break into than publishing in most cases.

BenPanced
06-09-2009, 01:25 AM
You can't copyright ideas, but you can pitch a show. It's not the same as contacting a literary agent or publisher to say "I've got a great idea if someone wants to write it". There are a (very) few people whose careers are built on pitching ideas to networks, selling the concept and letting the networks do with it what they will.

TV, however, is harder to break into than publishing in most cases.
Especially with "reality" TV. Everybody and his Uncle Judy and Aunt Lars has an idea, so how to do it without looking like you're already ripping off somebody else?

hammerklavier, there might be something in these forums (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=12). Granted, they're mostly about stage and film, but you might get a hint.

Cassiopeia
06-09-2009, 02:04 AM
I've recently come up with an idea for a reality TV series that I think really has merit. It would have a smaller audience than most such shows, but there happens to be a cable channel focused on the audience that already does some reality shows.

I'm looking for advice on how to proceed while protecting my idea. And also how much a show idea is worth.
You might want to talk to clockwork (mod in the scriptwriting forum) on how to approach a network. I know he's done that. And though reality tv is meant to be spontaneous there's a bit of it that's scripted so you might try the scriptwriting forum. :)

I don't mind the types of reality shows that don't vote people off.

I love shows like Whale Wars, Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild...they can be so interesting.

wordmonkey
06-09-2009, 02:05 AM
You need to work up a pitch for the show, just like if you were pitching a scripted show.

You need to tell me (the network pr prodco) what this show is like (successful shows as example) and why it is new and fresh and never been seen before.

I need to know how it all works (the mechanics of the show). I need to know what will make the views watch - what will they care about? what will they love? why will the turn in each week?

If there is a way to cross-promote the show with a sponsor, tell me about that, if I can spread the cost of production with a major corporation, I'm more interested.

Do you have a host in mind? DON'T lock into a specific person, because if I like that host, but I can't get that person, then the idea is suddenly weaker and you've taken the edge off the concept.

Remember, you NEVER want to give me a reason to pass. So be as specifically vague as possible. I want a clear vision of the show that isn't locked into anything until the show hits the air.

hammerklavier
06-09-2009, 06:11 PM
Thanks (to those who gave constructive advice) I'll develop a pitch, I think sponsors could definately be involved in this one.

wordmonkey
06-09-2009, 06:16 PM
Thanks (to those who gave constructive advice) I'll develop a pitch, I think sponsors could definately be involved in this one.

Just remember in the pitch to say it would appeal to more than one sponsor... same as with the host suggestion. You wanna give the idea without locking into one solid thing.

And with ALL advertising and marketing, you need to sell the SIZZLE not the steak.

wordmonkey
06-09-2009, 06:28 PM
I just realized I didn't address the second part of the question.

If you do your pitch, I believe you can register the show pitch with the WGA.

As for what it earns. Assuming you sign on with a prodco, and then develop the show, you might get a nominal fee and a small amount per episode made.

However, conventional wisdom holds that it won't be until the third season that you REALLY cash in your chips. Syndication tends to happen then, a show that has been around for three seasons is of significantly higher value just because it's established, and as a franchise base, that's likely when the spin-offs start to happen. In short, it's unlikely you'd get rich quick off it.

Samantha's_Song
06-09-2009, 06:34 PM
I'd always believed this too, until last week - A dance group had won a talent contest on TV the week before (yawn), and the boy that runs the group was getting advice from a top lawyer, on bbc radio, of how to copyright his street dance idea so that no one else could ever use it.

If someone can copyright such a trivial thing as a dance routine, I don't see why people can't copyright their other ideas too. :Shrug:


Unfortunately, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

blueobsidian
06-09-2009, 06:39 PM
I'd always believed this too, until last week - A dance group had won a talent contest on TV the week before (yawn), and the boy that runs the group was getting advice from a top lawyer, on bbc radio, of how to copyright his street dance idea so that no one else could ever use it.

If someone can copyright such a trivial thing as a dance routine, I don't see why people can't copyright their other ideas too. :Shrug:

Because your example is like saying "Because I can copyright a book, I must be able to copyright an idea." A dance routine is a composed piece made up of individual moves, and as far as I'm concerned you can liken it to a book being composed of individual words. While you may not be able to protect a word or move, I have no problem with an entire composed product being protected. It is not easy to choreograph a good dance routine.

Samantha's_Song
06-09-2009, 07:15 PM
I have no problem with that either, to copy their whole show would be wrong, but no dance move has never been made before, just put into different sequences. These guys are trying to say that actual street dancing belongs to them, whereas I'm sure it goes on all over the world, just not their exact sequence pf moves.


I have no problem with an entire composed product being protected. It is not easy to choreograph a good dance routine.

Cyia
06-09-2009, 07:20 PM
I have no problem with that either, to copy their whole show would be wrong, but no dance move has never been made before, just put into different sequences. These guys are trying to say that actual street dancing belongs to them, whereas I'm sure it goes on all over the world, just not their exact sequence pf moves.

This is like Trump trying to copyright (trademark?) "You're Fired!" because of The Apprentice.